The Dark Side of Chocolate

The Dark Side of Chocolate

 

Pretty much straight after Christmas, the shops start filling their shelves with Easter goodies – usually starting with hot cross buns, but the chocolate easter eggs & rabbits are never far behind.

While I prefer to avoid those that are filled with sugar & soy lecithin, or the brands that are not Fair Trade &/or support child slavery, I’m certainly not immune to the temptation of the cacaophany (see what I did there  ;-)) of cocoa-based offerings.

However, I was reading a report recently which showed that many brands of chocolate contain heavy metals like lead & cadmium.  Of 70 products tested in an independent laboratory, 45 of them had levels of lead &/or cadmium at levels higher than allowed under Californian law (Prop 65), including some organic brands (brands that are available not only in the US, but here in Australia & other countries).  Although heavy metal contamination of soil is not uncommon these days, there is no known safe level of lead for children or pregnant women.  Some of the health effects of lead toxicity include:

  • neurological damage, sometimes irreversible
  • lowered IQ
  • kidney damage
  • developmental delays, both psychological & physical, including ADHD that can persist into adulthood
  • decreased blood haemoglobin levels, which reduces the oxygenation of blood
  • increased risk of hypertension
  • interferes with Vitamin D, which affects multiple processes including cell maturation & skeletal growth
  • anaemia
  • abdominal pain
  • immunotoxicity
  • impaired fertility

The other metal of concern is cadmium, a known human carcinogen, which is also correlated with:

  • kidney dysfunction
  • gut irritation – nausea, vomiting, salivation, abdominal pain & cramping, diarrhoea
  • anaemia
  • decreased bone density
  • endocrine disruption
  • chromosomal damage
Heavy Metal Easter | www.unitywellness.com.au

Source – www.freakingnews.com

Although eating a bit of chocolate is unlikely to result in the worst outcomes of chronic lead exposure – coma & death – it is important to reduce over-all exposure, especially for children. This is why it is so important to have ‘truth on labels’.  Good health comes from making informed choices. Although lead & cadmium exposure can happen at any point, from “bean to bar“, I find it interesting that with the products tested, there were different results (some passed, some didn’t) from different products made by the same brands, which would presumably use the same source of cocoa for their products & use the same processing facilities.  That being said, there are some brilliant health benefits to eating small amounts of quality chocolate & there are obviously some reputable sources of chocolate available.  Part of my mission is to seek out & promote with those companies who hold your health at the core of everything they do.

Rather than panicking about “heavy metal chocolate” this Easter, here are some alternatives:

 

Make Your Own

Making your own chocolate is rewarding & super-easy (especially if you have a Thermomix or similar)!  You could either do some sneaky chocolate making “Easter bunny style” while the kids are at school or sleeping, or you could get them involved in the process of making goodies for friends & family.  I have some great childhood memories of helping my Mum to make chocolates as gifts for Easter & Christmas!

As well as traditional molded chocolate & eggs, there are plenty of ways to show your creative flair – think chocolate bark with different combinations of nuts, seeds & dried fruits….bliss balls made with raw cacao & medjool dates then shaped like eggs & rolled in coconut or finely chopped nuts (DIY Ferrero Rochers!)….Rocky Road with macadamias & home made marshmallows.

One of my favourite recipes is Jo Whitton’s Dairy-free raw chocolate on her Quirky Cooking blog.  To make it, you’ll need:

  • 200g Raw cacao butter (you can use coconut oil for a more budget-friendly option, or a combo of the two, but the chocolates must then be stored in the fridge so they don’t melt)
  • 50-60g Raw cacao
  • 100g Raw honey, pure maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • Vanilla bean paste or natural extract
  • Fine sea salt

You can find the instructions here.

Chocolate Making Ultimate Pack | www.unitywellness.com.au

There’s also a fantastic special from Changing Habits available which you can use to make your chocolates, or give it as a gift!  Treat yourself to the Chocolate Making Ultimate Pack with all the ingredients & instructions you need to make your own healthy, delicious chocolate at 20% off RRP!

 

Drink It

As an alternative to solid chocolate, give a gift that can be enjoyed right through the cooler months, long after Easter has passed. Perfect for those wanting or needing to avoid sugar such as diabetics, there’s now a superfood hot chocolate powder available that combines the well-known benefits of chocolate with hormone-balancing maca & immune-boosting reishi mushrooms.

After Midnight Dark is organic, non-GMO & low-GI/low carb as it’s sweetened with xylitol.

Another great chocolatey drink option is the Changing Habits Cacao Quick Hunger Fix. High protein, low GI and full of essential nutrients like magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc, copper & dietary fibre.  It’s also Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free, Egg Free, Grain Free & Vegan.  You can read more about the ingredients & buy it here.

Both powders are also great to use when making other snacks like bliss balls, chia puddings, raw slices, biscuits, etc or mixed into smoothies.  In my experience, coconut milk or coconut cream make the best tasting chocolate drinks & coconut water is fabulous in smoothies, but you can use any liquid you prefer .

 

Wear It

Cacao doesn’t only have benefits when consumed. Having a higher antioxidant capacity than green tea, black tea, or red wine, raw cacao helps to prevent against free radical damage in the skin & has UV protectant qualities when used topically.  It also helps protect collagen in the skin & increases blood flow, giving skin a brighter, more youthful appearance.  Skin hydration & elasticity improves & your skin loses that dry, scaly look.

One skin product I LOVE that contains cacao is the Zk’in Brightening & Hydrating Masque.  I remember the first time I tried it.  I’d just used their Clarifying Exfoliator which has coffee grounds in it & although I don’t like to drink coffee, the combination of the coffee aroma with the mandarin essential oil was DIVINE!  I was already in Heaven from the smell of that when I opened the Masque. O…M…G!  It was like liquid chocolate covering my fingers.  I smoothed the silky, chocolately gel with soothing aloe vera & hydrating Tasmanian seaweed extract across my face & just inhaled deeply for 10 minutes.  After rinsing it off with water, my skin was deliciously soft & smooth.  I think it would make a gorgeous Easter gift either on it’s own, as part of a smaller gift set with the Exfoliator & brilliant Line Smoothing Serum, or the amazing ‘Complete Pack For Her‘.

Here’s a video so you can see the chocolately goodness for yourself:

So as you can see, there are many options for a healthier Easter, free of heavy metals & sugar comas.  I’d love you to share this post so we can get this information out to as many people as possible & feel free to comment below if you have any questions or have tried any of these products yourself.  I love to hear feedback so I can keep providing you with value & bringing you information that positively impacts you & your family.

Ny xx

The Dark Side of Chocolate | Heavy Metals & healthier alternatives | www.unitywellness.com.au

Sources

http://www.asyousow.org/our-work/environmental-health/toxic-enforcement/lead-and-cadmium-in-food/

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=10

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp5-c3.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmium_poisoning

https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=6&po=10

https://draxe.com/reishi-mushroom/

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/omcl/2012/906252/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4145303/

http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-cacao-for-skin-hair-and-health/#gref

 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE & ADVOCATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

About Me

Nyree Yali

Nyree Yali

Hi, I'm a former Naturopath-turned-unschooling-parent to a toddler & a tween living in the beautiful South of Tasmania. I'm now helping others on their own journey to wellness & abundance through connecting with their community. I look forward to getting to know you better!Read more...

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Trio 21 Day Clean & Lean Detox – Part 2

Trio 21 Day Clean & Lean Detox – Part 2

For those of you who have not read Part 1 of this series can do so HERE.

Before my daughter started Trio, I asked her some questions about what she was hoping to get out of the program.  Although I had my own motivation for asking her to do it, I wanted to understand the driving force behind her saying ‘yes’.

So why did you ‘yes’ to doing this program?

I really just want a lot more energy.  Maybe lose a little weight and get back to being healthier.

What does it mean to you to “be healthier”?

Well, to have a good lifestyle & eat the right foods…..go on walks or runs.

How do you think it would make you feel to do that?

Probably happier.  It might help me get to sleep a little earlier, too.

Is there anything you’re not looking forward to?

Well, not really.  I’ve kind of gotten past that point, but the one thing I’m not looking forward to is the drinks….the little sachet things.

Obviously I’m the one who asked you to try this program.  What was your understanding of it when I first asked you?

Just what I’d heard people talk about – gut healing & stuff.

Do you think your gut needs healing, or are there any foods that don’t agree with you?

I don’t knowwww!!  I guess the main foods that don’t agree with me are nuts & dairy.  Yep, that’s it, mainly.

So do you have any goals for the end of the 21 days?  Any changes you’d like to see or feel?

Umm, I don’t know.  Because I’m a dancer & athlete, I need to have a lot of energy to do that & keep my body in shape for it. Basically, just more energised.

So there you have it.  Energy is the main aim so she can keep doing the things she loves.

We’ll talk a bit more in the next installment about her energy levels during the program & beyond, but for now I’d like to share some of the meals she/we ate in the 3 weeks.  One thing that is certainly not lacking from Trio is food.  SO. MUCH. FOOD.  Dr Cabot says you don’t have to eat everything & to let your appetite guide you, but this is NOT a meal replacement program.  There is a full 21 Day menu plan included with the program with plenty of recipes in the book & a few more on her website.  The focus is on nutrient-dense, gut-healing, anti-inflammatory foods to support the detox process, reduce inflammation & pain and support energy production at a cellular level.  Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have already seen some of these & more, but here’s a selection of meals we enjoyed; some from the Trio book & a couple of family favourites….

Trio Clean & Lean Detox - Part 2 | www.unitywellness.com

As well as 3 meals & 2 snacks a day, there are also the 3 sachets that make up the Trio program:

1)    Superfood Powder An exceptionally potent blend of concentrated superfoods

2)    Gut Detox & Repair PowderFor gut detoxification and repair

3)    Alkalinise & Cleanse PowderTo balance PH and reduce acidity

Trio Clean & Lean Detox sachets | www.unitywellnes.com.au

Dr Cabot & her team sourced the best of the best organic products from across the globe for this program.  Naturopaths I’ve talked to who know about Trio are recommending this detox over the practitioner-only products they usually give their patients because there’s nothing available to match the ingredients & value in Trio.  Just in the Superfood sachet alone there’s over 30 superfoods!

Most of the way through the program, we mixed the Superfood sachet with water.  However, I got sneaky a couple of times & mixed it once with almond milk & once with coconut milk & a splodge of coconut yoghurt to see if she noticed the difference.  She thought the almond milk was alright, but the coconut milk/yoghurt was the clear winner.  As it contains cocoa powder, mixing the powder with coconut turned it into a chocolate smoothie.  As a bonus, the extra fat helps stabilise blood sugar levels in the morning & you get an extra hit of probiotics to help the gut 🙂  Winning!!!

The Detox & Repair powder has a lemony, slightly nutty taste and the Alkalinise & Cleanse powder is…..well…..it’s a green powder.  It’s the one people often find the most challenging.  My daughter did the old ‘hold the nose & down it’ trick, but other people said they found it easier with cold water &/or a drop of peppermint or lemon essential oil.  Funnily enough, on the last night, she drank it no problem!  Dr Cabot says that people with highly acidic bodies tend to have the hardest time drinking it, but as they become more alkaline, they really don’t mind it.  That’s certainly been the case with others I’ve spoken to who are also on or have already finished Trio. Interesting stuff!

One thing I would recommend is using a blender to mix the drinks.  Although we have a Thermomix which is more than capable of doing the job, I actually ventured out to our shed & exhumed my old bullet-style blender with the cup attachment.  It was perfect for mixing three drinks a day & really helped to disperse the powders through the liquid.  You can also mix the powders into fruit/veggie juice instead of water, which is something we didn’t try as she only wanted them straight, but the option’s there.

Now although we’re not vegan, the question has come up a lot – Can vegans do this detox?  The answer is a resounding YES!

The sachets are all vegan-friendly.  Several of the recipes in the book do include eggs, chicken or seafood as protein sources, but you can easily substitute legumes, nuts & seeds.  There’s a full list of foods to include & foods to avoid, so it’s easy to plan your meals around the allowed foods.

Stay tuned for the final part of this Trio Series where I’ll sit down with my daughter to chat about her experience with Trio – including how she did over Christmas – & talk energy 🙂

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE & ADVOCATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.

Trio 21 Day Clean & Lean Detox – Part 1

Trio 21 Day Clean & Lean Detox – Part 1

In my business, I’m fortunate enough to get some fantastic sample products to show people, as well as to try out myself so I can share my experiences.

During a recent tour of Australia, the CEO of the company I’ve joined forces with was telling people about his own major health problems & how despite trying various fermented foods & drinks, he was still having gut issues & could not shift excess weight he was carrying as a result of various medications.  He then tried a 3 week gut healing program in the US that finally delivered the results he’d been searching for. Unfortunately, he was unable to bring the program to Australia but he knew that it could help so many people.  He started working with Dr Sandra Cabot – a name many of you will recognise from the Liver Cleansing Diet – to develop a similar program that would provide the same benefits.  She drew upon her 40 years experience when developing this program & $2 million of research later, Trio is now one of the flagship products available exclusively through this platform.

Now, I know that my gut microbiome is probably not optimal, but my attempts to make changes generally result in my breastfed daughter screaming through the night with gut pain – something she doesn’t do otherwise – so I decided the timing is not right for me right now. As such, I asked my eldest daughter if she’d be willing to give it a go.  I’ll explain why…..

When I was pregnant with her, I was given antibiotics in the third trimester as well as during labour, so even though it was a normal vaginal birth, she would not have been seeded with many of the good bacteria needed to build her own healthy microbiome.  Right from the start, she had major problems with reflux & colic.  She’d always been on the higher end of the scale for both weight & length, but somewhere between 18 month & 3 years, her weight started to go off the chart.  We didn’t have a “bad” diet, but we also hadn’t gone fully gluten & dairy free at that point.  She was active with dancing & gymnastics, as well as being pretty damned talented with a set of hula hoops, so I didn’t worry too much.

Hula Hoop Age 3

As the years passed, her weight increased even more & she showed signs of pre-puberty as early as 5yo, but particularly around 7yo. Thinking back over the years, she has always been a night-owl, which is now commonly known to be a factor in insulin resistance and even if she does go to sleep earlier, she wakes through the night.  Appetite regulation was (is) poor and acanthosis nigricans (skin hyperpigmentation) developed, which is common in hyperinsulinemia.   Add to that mix many of the same symptoms I have related to my MTHFR mutations & pyroluria, as well as a family history of diabetes and you can start to get a picture of why despite her young age (11yo), I really hoped she’d agree to go through with the 21 day Trio program.

Having the gift of age, I know the risks involved with being overweight/obese from childhood, but it’s not always easy to comprehend when you’re younger.  One thing my daughter does know is she wants to be healthier.  She saw me drop 30kg on the Changing Habits 4 Phase Fat Elimination Protocol & had long being asking to go on that herself.  Although it’s great for identifying food intolerances, I’d rather wait until she’s a little older before attempting that because it’s much stricter & I don’t think she’s quite ready for that level of commitment just yet.  Trio seems to be a good compromise – the same length of time, the same gradual reintroduction of food with a greater awareness how various foods make you feel, but with the benefit of much more food & more focus on the liver & gut which she will so clearly benefit from.  We’ve been gluten free for several years now & dairy free for a few months with moments of LCHF thrown in for good measure, so it will be interesting to see what sort of difference doing this program will make to her.

I also started taking her to my chiropractor a few weeks ago & he is really excited for her to be doing this.  He knows how much this healing will help her, if for no other reason that to put less pressure on her spine, but he was very impressed with the ingredients & the way the program has been put together.  My daughter got teary when he said how proud of he was of her for saying ‘yes’ & to forget about “losing weight”, but rather focus on being healthy & let everything else fall into place – exactly what I’d said to her.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this 3-part series!

 

MEDICAL DISCLAIMER

Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices.  While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional's advice.  Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.

AFFILIATE & ADVOCATE LINKS

This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!).  I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.

This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.